Thursday, March 14, 2013

Day 20 The Legacy of a Mom

What is going on with all the sickness going around?  Last week we battled the stomach bug this week Sully's got a horrible cough and snot coming out of his nose 24/7.  To quote my husband, "I thought it was a booger, but itsnot."  Ha!  Love that old man humor.

Keep on track, Danielle.  Keep on track.  So, tonight I put Sully down for bed.  And he woke up a few times.  I recently went in and picked him up.  I don't normally do this since we were really pro sleep training. And it worked since he can put himself back to sleep.  But I know he's not feeling well and I just wanted to comfort him.  So, I scooped him up and he just laid his little head on my shoulder.  I melted.

My mama heart was bursting!  It's been months since he's done this.  It used to happen the first two months all the time.  I would get up to nurse him and it was part of our routine.  But it's been so long, I realized how much I missed that sweet little boy's head on my shoulder.

I sat in the glider in his room to savor this moment.  To just be.  My baby in my arms, asleep.  And I sang a song to him.  And then I recited the line from that book, the one that every mother with a son has, "I'll like you forever, I'll love you for always, as long as I'm living my baby you'll be."  I smiled.  And then I started to cry.

I thought how really, as long as he is alive, I will always be his mama.  Even when I get to go home to Jesus I will still be his mama.  There will not be a day he walks this earth where that won't be true.

I thought about the legacy I can leave my son.  I thought about the things I do now that would live on long after I'm gone.  I have a friend and his mom passed away when he was  young.  Her memory is precious.  She left a legacy.  I didn't have that with my mom.  I don't have that.  What she left me was more hurt than love.  More what not to do's than how to's.  I don't want that for Sully.

As moms we have this incredible gift to shape our kids.  To love them.  To mold them.  To see their potential, their light, their personalities and to train them up and build them up and send them out into a world that is in desperate need of people that speak truth, live out grace and are humble.  The world doesn't need more people that believe they are worthless, or live to only fulfill their own desires.

So, here is what I want my son to know.  To believe.  To carry with him all his days on this earth.

Dear Sullivan,

I love you to the moon and back.  Don't you ever doubt that.  And although you mean more to me than you will ever be able to know (well, until you have a child of your own), the world does not, nor should it, revolve around you.  I don't mean that to sound harsh, my sweet boy.  But what this world needs is more people that are set on loving others even though there is a cost.  It needs less people trying to satisfy needs that things in this world can never satisfy and more people that are set to fix their eyes on Jesus, love as He loved, to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with God.

You are strong enough.  You are enough.  Because God created you.  Because He loves you.  Because His promise is to never leave you or forsake you.  When you are weak, He is strong.  Be a voice of truth in the midst of so much junk, so many lies.  Be a man of grace and don't hold a grudge.

Love well.  Whatever you do, do it well.  Choose your words wisely.  Invest in your family.  Have fun but not at others expense.  Laugh.  Laugh a lot.  Smile because you have the BEST smile.  And know, please, please know, I have prayed for you all the days of your little life.  And long after I am gone, my prayers for you will live on.

I hope to spend many, many, many more years with you building a legacy.  I love you.  to pieces.  to the moon and back.

Your Mom

My 20 days of being real has come to an end.  My plan is to keep blogging.  My hope is that you will keep reading.  And my encouragement to you today is this:  You are enough.  You are loved.  You were created for a purpose.  Love well.  Leave a legacy.

Be blessed today sweet reader.  Be blessed.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Day 19 This is Church

Can I be absolutely, completely honest with you right now?  Instead of sitting at this computer I desperately want to turn on the tv and catch up on Pretty Little Liars.  Sigh.  Don't judge me on my tween television picks.  Or the fact that it's the middle of the day and I want to veg on the couch.

But instead I'm here, in front of my computer, on Day 19 of being real.  When I started this blogging journey I thought I would long be done before the middle of January.  I definitely thought I would be done before February ever came and went.  But it's March.  It's March.

Anyways, here's what I want to share.  Do you go to church?  I go.  Most Sundays.  We skipped last week.  Yep, we totally skipped church.  But here's what I realized today.  I've been to church three times this week... actually, four... nope, make it five.

We have a friend who says, "That's church!" when something real happens.  My husband shared that with me and I smiled and I thought, it's pretty true.  I'm not dogging on church on Sundays.  Go.  I like it.  Find a church that teaches the Bible and believes that God is good, just and loving; One that believes Jesus is God with skin on and lived a sinless life, died on the cross for you, for me, and rose on the third day to ultimately give us the greatest gift we could ever know- life with God, a relationship with Him and an eternity with Him.

But church can happen every day.  I sat at my dining room table last night as a friend poured out her heart.  I sat there asking some tough questions and following up with some loving truth.  She cried.  My heart was tendered.  It was doing very real life with another person centered around the truth of who God is and the truth of who He says we are.  That's church.  My heart praised him when she left my house because He showed up.  Right there.  In my little dining room.

Today another sweet friend sat at the very same table.  And we laughed and cried.  We talked about hard, real stuff.  It was honest.  Soul wrenching honest.  And we spoke truth of who God is and the amazing, unpredictable ways that He works.  He was glorified.  And that was church.

Earlier I spent almost more than an hour on the phone with a friend and again, there were tears and truth and love.  There was forgiveness and grace.  Two lives intertwined by a loving Heavenly Father who has created us to do life together.  That was church.

Tuesday mornings you can find me gathered around a table with a group of women that I am humbled and honored to know.  I get to see them for Bible study and there is honesty and depth centered around God's word.  And I am continually challenged as they share their lives, their hopes, their fears, what God is calling them to and how they are following Him.  Yep, that's church.

And on Monday nights you can find me sitting in a comfy chair at Starbucks with two or three other women. We are all moms.  We are all in this following God thing together.  Some Mondays it's chit chat and fun.  But some Mondays, like this week, it gets messy.  Some Mondays we talk about our fears, our short comings, What we think God is doing, what we want Him to do and ultimately how we have to trust that His ways are the best ways.  That's church.  Christ centered, God glorified truth.

God shows up in every day places at normal hum drum times.  And I realized this week that I need to start recognizing Him in those every day moments.  Years ago God re-wired my mindset to know that ministry isn't something you do where you raise support.  Ministry is wherever you are.  Your work place, your neighborhood, at the mall or Target.  It's loving the people around you.  It's modeling Christ and living for Him wherever you are.  (Thank you, Amy and Kristie for speaking that truth into this girl's life.  It took a while, but ultimately the Holy Spirit got that through my thick skull!).

I think too often I think of church as a place.  It's the big building in the northtowns that I go to on Sundays.  And then it's over and I can check it off my list.  But I don't ever think that is how God desired or designed church to be.  In Acts church happened when a bunch of believers were together.  They preached the gospel, they ate together and fellowshipped together.  They praised God together and did life together.  God was glorified and the news about Jesus spread.  I want to live a life like that.  Fear often holds me back.  Fear of being let down by people or letting people down.  Fear of the mess that comes when my life is intertwined with anothers.  But today God spoke very clearly to me that despite the messy-ness and the difficulty of doing life with people who might not see things exactly as you do, it's worth it.  Push past the fear because it's totally worth it.

How about you?  Have you done church this week?  I know it's not easy.  Don't let fear win.  You were created for more.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Day 18 of Being Real- Dear New Mom

I was lying in bed the other night thinking through the past six months of being a mom.  I began to write a letter to myself- to the pregnant me- of all the things I wish I would have known.  I'll share what ran through my head with the disclaimer that 1) Motherhood isn't one of a kind for everyone.  What works for me won't necessarily work for you.  What works for my kid might not work for your kid.  And we need to stop judging each other and start banding together and encouraging one another and 2) Even if someone would have told me everything in this letter while I was pregnant (and I'm sure people told me some of it) it doesn't mean I would have gotten it.  You know, really understood it, until I walked through it myself.  And I'm sure there would have been things I would have turned my nose up at that now I know are real things.

So, if you are a new mom, or a soon to be mom, or your kids are grown, or you don't have kids, just enjoy this letter.  From me in the present to pregnant me.

Dear Soon to be Mama,

Currently your body is changing in crazy ways.  Your belly is growing, your bladder is shrinking and you are starting to walk like Winnie the Pooh, but in a not as cute way.  Don't fret.  Soon enough that little one will be here and everything you've learned up until this point will not matter.

Let's start with the hospital visit.  I know you're scared of birth.  I know you are worried about the pain.  You will get through it.  It will hurt.  A lot.  More than anything you've ever experienced before in your life.  And you will sit in that hospital bed wondering why only one person (Thank you, Patty, in Accounting) talked to you about back labor.  You will wonder, as you grip the hospital bed, as you sweat more than you do when you are working out to a Jillian Michaels work out dvd, if they purposely don't tell you about back labor because you would have chosen to NEVER get pregnant in the first place.  You will think back to all of those Baby Stories you watched on TLC and not remember a single mom having back labor.  But you'll endure.  Get the epidural.  Don't be a hero.  There's no medal.  And no, despite what others have said, your baby will not come out drugged or sluggish and yes, he will latch on to your breast right away.

Then he's here.  And now you are heading home from the hospital.  And here is where the real need to know wisdom comes.  After about 7 months of attention for being pregnant, having doors opened for you, bags carried, smiles and questions about, "When are you due," all of a sudden you will no longer matter.  It doesn't matter that you are still in pain from birthing a 9 lb 2 oz baby.  It doesn't matter that you fractured your tail bone in labor.  It also doesn't matter that you will not be able to wipe your lady parts for about a month but will resort to "washing" them with the squirt bottle only one friend told you about before you gave birth.  Also, the mesh underwear you were so afraid of will be the most comfortable thing you will wear for about a week.

You will have visitors, but they will just come to see the little bundle of love that latches on to you roughly every 2-3 hours.  You will get really comfortable with people seeing your breasts.  After all, after giving birth and having just about everyone and their mother up in your biz-ness you will eventually be more comfortable with your body than you probably should be.  You will start to feel like you only matter because of the milk you are producing.  You are more than breast milk.  Remember that.

It's ok if one night when you are driving home with your husband after trying to get out of the house for a bit with the baby but nothing went as planned and it turned out to be a disastrous night because you forgot the baby wipes and the hand sanitizer, if you find yourself sobbing.  If you find yourself uttering the words, "What have we done?  I miss the way things were," it's COMPLETELY normal.  No one talks about this.  But it's normal.  You're not a bad mom.  Life has just completely changed and it's ok to grieve your former way of life.  You may have thought that your former way of life wasn't that great.  It probably wasn't super exciting.  I mean, you're not a jet setter.  You haven't been to Paris.  But last minute plans to go to dinner or running errands all day without a set schedule will seem more glamorous than being Leonardo DiCaprio's date to the Oscars.

You will learn to breastfeed ANYWHERE.  Car? Check!  Starbucks? Check! Panera?  Check!  Wegman's? Yep.  At church?  Yes, but in the nursing room, of course.  I mean, they have a glider in there!  You will also become strangely obsessed with poop.  You will know how many times a day your little one has pooped.  If it's the right color and consistency and if he is one poop short a day this will become something that you slightly worry about.  Then, whew!  He poops a big one that leaks everywhere but you couldn't be happier.  Because he's healthy and pooping!

Speaking of poop- and other bodily functions.  You will get pooped on.  It will happen.  The poop does slow down.  Really.  I promise.  Have hope.  You will also get spit up on, peed on and eventually probably thrown up on.  Take pride.  It's a right of passage.

Also, you will no longer be the center of your world.  You will find that you are hungry but you have to feed the baby.  You will feed the baby.  Baby will come first.  You will mourn your old ways but also be really really happy that this is your current life.  Some days will be hard.  Some days you will think you are going to pull your hair out.  Some days you will think that one child is enough.  Is being an only child so bad?  And then you will pick him up from his nap and he'll nestle into you and you start thinking that maybe next February would be a good time to start trying for another baby.

And one more thing.  Be gracious.  Be gracious to yourself and allow yourself to make mistakes.  This is new.  New for you.  New for baby.  Be gracious to others that give you advice or just want to help.  Be humble enough to know that you don't know it all.  And maybe their way could work.  Be humble enough to admit you need help when you do, indeed, need help.  Be confident that you are doing your best.  And be grateful that kids are so darn resilient.  You can do this.  It won't be easy.  Literally EVERYTHING will change.  You will forever be changed, too.  The way you look at life, the way you look at other moms, the way you look at yourself, it will change.  You will grow.  You will cry.  You will eventually get to use toilet paper again and in roughly 6 1/2 months that tailbone will be just about good as new.

Love to you, new mom.  You're going to do great even though you will question yourself every single step of the way.